Corn and Quinoa Pasta Salad

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This pasta salad was a hit when Alison and I made up a giant batch of it to serve at the Taste of Sonoma event a few years ago. I first made this for a potluck picnic at church and no less than five people came up to me and said, “Did you by chance make that quinoa salad? It was de-LICOUS!” (when pondering what to name it, Sierra even recommended Really Yummy Pasta Salad). And here I was afraid the quinoa would freak people out. Truth is, there’s a lot to love about this salad: a healthy dose of whole grains in the form of quinoa and whole grain penne, a break from basil with chives and parsley, and a lip-smacking tart-sweet balance from the corn and lime juice combo. This pasta salad is a potluck winner, whether you’re making it for a backyard barbecue or a high-end event. And, yep, you can make this pasta salad a day in advance — in fact it tastes even better when you do because the flavors have time to develop.

Corn and Quinoa Pasta Salad


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Corn and Quinoa Pasta Salad


  1. 1-1/2 cups water
  2. 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  3. 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  4. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  5. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
  7. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  8. 1 garlic clove, minced
  9. 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  10. 1 cup mixed cherry tomatoes, sliced cross-wise into 1/4-inch slices
  11. 1 cup squash or zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  12. 4 ounces whole grain penne, cooked and drained
  13. 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  14. 1/4 cup pitted Nicoise olives, halved lengthwise
  15. 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


Combine 1-1/2 cups water and quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

While quinoa is cooking, pound the chives to a paste in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil and scoop into a small bowl. Whisk in lime juice, vinegar and garlic, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, corn, tomatoes, squash, pasta, parsley, olives and feta. Pour dressing over top and toss well to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

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  • Eric Gower

    Lip-smacking indeed! Was in Healdsburg yesterday, had I known this was available, I would have crashed your church picnic!

  • Lia Huber

    Great day to be here in Healdsburg … it’s been gor-JUS here! Love your site, Eric, and your Buddha’s hands!